Time to think is key for successful business leaders

It can be hard for owners of a small business to prioritise their time, especially if they pride themselves on being hands on.

But to truly lead and guide a business means setting aside some time each week to look at the bigger picture and spend some time thinking and planning.

This can be difficult for time poor CEOs or business leaders but it can be done. The secret is discipline and recognising the value of your time.

A diary or a weekly timetable can help allocate time, lists of priorities, delegation and simply the recognition that you can do everything help ensure you do what is important and not always what seems urgent.

Saying “no” is also key to protecting yourself from others who want to steal your valuable time.

To create a timetable you need to first identify any peaks and troughs that regularly occur in the business week, and to then allocate a couple of quiet-ish periods for specific purposes, during which you take no phone calls and refrain from checking the e-mail. From this you can begin to set out a timetable that you can stick to.

It may be that a half hour at the start and end of each day or week is enough, the first to review and plan any initiatives you may have in mind, the second to review progress on ones you have set in motion and note any adjustments that may be needed.

A regular slot once a week to review cash and once a month to review management accounts are essential. As is the regular monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs) to check how the business is doing and if necessary change what it is doing.

It may be that you can be more productive by allocating a specific time each day to dealing with messages, returning phone calls and answering e-mails.

Organising the week and making sure everyone in the business knows when you are available or not is also useful, as are focused meetings that have clear outcomes. The key is to stick to the schedule once it has been made.

How do you ensure you have enough time in the week to think and plan the path for your business?

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